Etihad Airways interested in minority stake in Jet Airways

Etihad confirmed its interest to re-invest subject to conditions

Cash-strapped Jet Airways says its liquidity position is critical and is in dialogue with banks to secure emergency funds to arrest its downward spiral. Jet Airways planes are seen parked at the domestic airport, in New Delhi, on Friday | PTI

Etihad Airways on Friday said it was interested in investing in the ailing Jet Airways, but only for a minority stake and much of the needed capital for Jet Airways must come from other investors.

"Etihad today confirmed its interest to re-invest in a minority stake in Jet Airways, subject to conditions," a spokesperson said.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline held a 24 per cent stake in Jet Airways. It was one of four entities who had sent their expression of interest for Jet Airways, which suspended operations temporarily since April 17 as it failed to secure emergency funding.

The deadline for placing formal bids ends on Friday.

India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets, a reason why Etihad may want to stay invested.

Jet Airways was until a few months ago, India's second largest carrier. At one time it had a fleet of close to 120 planes. However, as losses mounted, it could not pay back its lessors, leading to much of its fleet being grounded. The salaries to employees have also been delayed. Promoter Naresh Goyal was nudged out as chairman of the board in March and the airline currently remains grounded.

"Etihad has been working consistently with key stakeholders in India over the past 15 months to help find a solution, which would ensure Jet's return as a viable and competitive Indian airline, and continues to do so," the Gulf carrier said.

However, Etihad is also clear that much of the funds that Jet would need to recover must come from other major investors.

"Etihad re-emphasises that it cannot be expected to be the sole investor, and that, amongst other requirements, additional suitable investors would need to provide the majority of Jet Airways' required recapitalisation," it said.

Earlier on Friday, State Bank of India, which is leading the consortium of lenders said two unsolicited bids had been received for Jet Airways.

British entrepreneur Jason Unsworth had earlier this week shown interest in investing in Jet Airways.